Peloton's Tunde Oyeneyin Partners with Nike to Bring More Women and Girls Into Sports

The beloved instructor opens up about her fitness journey and what's next as she teams up with one of the largest athletic brands out there.

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Photo: Courtesy of Nike

It may be hard to believe, but Peloton instructor Tunde Oyeneyin didn't always identify as an athlete. From her brutal yet invigorating bike boot camps to her uplifting and seriously intense cycling classes, the Texas native regularly brings a unique blend of tough love and supportive energy that would seem to suggest a history of team sports. But Oyeneyin didn't discover the empowerment of movement until her late teen years. And now, through her newly-announced partnership with Nike, she's on a mission to ignite the passion for sport in other women and young girls, so they too can claim their own strength and stick with fitness for a lifetime.

"Growing up, I never considered myself an athlete. It took me a really long time to even call myself an athlete," Oyeneyin tells Shape. "I was very much the young person who tried out for every single sport and never made the team."

As part of her work with Nike, Oyeneyin will share her unique story of progress — in fitness and in life — editorially through the Nike Brand platform to make fitness more accessible and inclusive for women around the world. "Nike has a massive global platform and my mission is to be able to use that platform to speak to our shared ambition, which is to bring more women and girls into sport and to empower them on their journey," she says. "I think my experience and my story coupled with what I've been able to do with it and my success now will inspire young people, and I hope to be able to bring that to life in a bigger way through this partnership."

Oyeneyin has been candid about her own fitness story in the past. Earlier this year, she spoke to Shape about how she struggled with her weight as a young girl and the profound impact that experience had on her mentality well into adulthood. When she started working out at the age of 15, she says movement began to help her overcome some of the self-imposed psychological obstacles that kept her from being her true self. As she's continued her fitness journey, Oyeneyin says she's only uncovered more of her own power.

"Through movement, I was able to tap in and connect to a new place," she says. "I found out I was strong. [Until then] I didn't know I was strong because mentally I was so insecure that my mind was weak, but my body was able to support me and lift weight in a way my mind could not then support me and lift and remove the heaviness and the weight. In some ways, my body allowed me to re-navigate the way the limited beliefs that my mind had set on myself — it strengthened my mind."

And this is why Oyeneyin considers her partnership with Nike "so beautiful." "Nike was the first brand to recognize and support me. I remember at a really young age feeling like the brand was communicating to me; it was really aspirational but also attainable. I saw athletes and models that looked like me," she explains. "So it's so full circle to be in this space with Nike. I want to be able to look at that 15-year-old girl and say, 'Girl, I see you, I hear you, I am of you, we are of the same.' I hope my story reaches people — just as Nike spoke to me, I hope to continue that [for others] through this partnership." (

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Courtesy of Nike

Oyeneyin's work with Nike is also particularly meaningful to her because it's rooted in the philosophy, "if you have a body, you're an athlete." That means anyone can and should have access to the myriad mental and physical benefits of movement, regardless of any cultural pressures or stereotypes that they might've heard otherwise. "If you've taken my classes, you know I always say, 'your mind is your strongest muscle,'" she says. "The belief starts with the mind and then the muscle reacts. So when you couple those two thoughts — 'if you have a body you're an athlete' and 'your mind is your strongest muscle' — if you can believe both of those statements, you are an athlete. That's it," explains Oyeneyin.

On a more local scale, Nike and Oyeneyin will work with New York City community initiatives that support sports and mentorship programs for young girls across the city. Nike will also be listening to and learning from Oyeneyin's experiences and insights, taking her feedback on future product and brand campaigns that serve and support everyday athletes.

"I think sports fosters community and that builds character and confidence," says Oyeneyin. "Movement is a celebration of life and I think that celebration is community, and so when you look at all the pieces together, it all lives synergistically — movement, celebrating, community, character-building, confidence — it's all one in the same."

In addition to her new partnership with Nike, Oyeneyin has also been keeping busy working with other major brands, such as Revlon. The fitness phenom also just announced that her upcoming book, Speak, will be released in May 2022. And of course, you cannot forget about her jam-packed teaching schedule with Peloton. (

"It really is a dream come true," she says. "I'm in this season of my life where I'm really celebrating myself like I would celebrate a friend. I'm so freakin' proud of myself and all of this is so awesome. What's most exciting to me about this space is the fact that in my former life, I was a makeup artist. Now I'm a Peloton instructor and a Nike athlete — it's so wild to me." (

She continues, "People tell you that you can't be all the things and they tell you to be one thing or the other. I'm one of the faces of Revlon and a Nike athlete at the exact same time. I can wear lipstick and lift heavy shit. I show up with my lipstick [on] because I want to speak to girls and say, 'we don't have to be one or the other.' You can be all the things and you can do all of it at the same time while writing a book. So it's an incredible place to be and I love this season that I'm in and I want to live it and enjoy it to the fullest."

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